• Tech Tech

Tech company finds untapped energy source beneath ocean floor: 'A greater role to play in the future energy mix'

"The opportunity offshore geothermal resources present could be a game-changer."

"The opportunity offshore geothermal resources present could be a game-changer."

Photo Credit: iStock

We aren't talking about the Little Mermaid, but the next source of clean energy might just be under the sea — even a little farther by going under the sea floor, that is. 

According to tech company CGG in a February article by New Atlas, untapped geothermal energy lies offshore where "seafloor spreading" occurs, which is when new oceanic crust forms after Earth's tectonic plates shift away from each other, offering the potential for cheaper and more accessible power.

"We strongly believe that geothermal energy as a baseload resource has a greater role to play in the future energy mix," said Peter Whiting, EVP of Geoscience at CGG.

Geothermal energy is unique in that it is produced 24/7, as opposed to solar and wind energy, since its source is heat from the Earth's core and is available anywhere on the planet. A potential blueprint to study geothermal energy extraction may already exist in Iceland, where, as New Atlas described, "volcanic emissions have piled up on top of a seafloor spreading ridge to make it accessible from the land" and "the offshore resources are much, much bigger."

Geothermal also has the potential to provide up to 120 gigawatts of electricity annually by 2050 in the U.S., according to the Department of Energy. Currently, geothermal accounts for less than 1% of the total electricity generated in the U.S. every year.

While geothermal energy boasts potentially game-changing benefits, there are significant hurdles. For instance, CGG cites the expensive costs of geothermal drilling, poor success rates, and the logistics of transporting the energy once harvested from under the ocean bedrock.

These challenges haven't hindered innovations in the pursuit of geothermal power. Fervo Energy, a Houston-based startup with a recent round of $221M in funding, constructed a geothermal well 70% quicker than one it built in 2022 while reducing costs by half, TechCrunch reported. Sage Geosystems, another Houston-area startup, is developing a system that would store energy from solar and wind resources.

As companies across the world scramble to find clean, renewable energy for our planet, offshore geothermal may suddenly become a much bigger factor.

"The opportunity offshore geothermal resources present could be a game-changer [toward the goals of] clean energy, climate action, and partnerships for sustainable development," Whiting said.

Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.

Cool Divider